Minimalist Phone – Clean Lines and Timeless Style

You’ve seen all the fancy “smart” phones with the bells and whistles, the 12-megapixel cameras, the giant displays, and advanced 5G connectivity.  But why on earth would you need all of these fancy technological advancements, especially every year when there’s another upgrade?  Let’s get real-minimalist phones are all we actually need.

A minimalist phone is simple and easy to use, with less distractions and few unnecessary details.  Minimalist phones range from simple mobiles to smart phones.  A phone can be minimalist through setup, case, and even our choice of screen wallpaper.  A minimalist phone is for simple needs.

How much time do you spend on your smartphone each day, clicking ads, scrolling social media, and checking email?  Do you ever wonder how much free time you’d have if you spent less time on your phone, and more time living?

What is a Minimalist Phone?

A minimalist phone is one that is designed and created with simplicity and ease of use in mind.  It is based on the “less is more” principle of minimalism that one most often thinks about in terms of wardrobe, home, and life in general-but applied to phones. 

People who choose a minimalist phones often do so to reduce screen time, minimize distractions, and promote a healthier relationship with technology. By simplifying their mobile device, people can focus on real-life interactions and reduce the constant availability and distractions that come with smartphones.

A person holding a simple black phone - Minimalist Phone - Gone Minimal
A person holding a simple black phone

Types of Minimalist Phones

We’re not just talking about the old “brick” phones or wireless phones you see in 1990s movies and tv shows-these are advanced phones of today.  The key pieces of all mobile phones, according to engineering graduate student Tomi Lamsa of University of Oulu, include usability, free from cords (except charging and syncing), and ability to add apps and access the internet.  Let’s take a look at some of the different types of minimalist phones, which offer all three key things.

A minimalist mobile phone is based purely on function-calls and text messages. 

Minimalist Smart Phones

A minimalist smart phone is one that has all of the productivity and connectivity functions, but without all of the distractions.  It has the functions you need including calls, text, email, and calendar to keep you connected to work and loved ones. 

A minimalist smart phone is simple in its aesthetic and function, and is free of the non-essential apps and notifications.  Need more functions or apps?  No worries-you can add what you need and take away what you don’t. Just keep in mind-smart phones don’t actually make you smarter!

A minimalist phone on a wooden table - Minimalist Phone - Gone Minimal
A minimalist phone on a wooden table

Minimalist Android Phones

Android is a major player in the phone game, and its variety of phones available are an example of their popularity.  Minimalist Android phones are up to date and technologically advanced, but with a few key perks.  Some, like the Samsung Galaxy Z, fold to save space in your hand or pocket, while some offer flip-style or touch screen only like the Google Pixel.  These only have a few apps factory installed, but you can add or delete most you don’t use. 

Minimalist Mobile Phones

A minimalist mobile phone is based purely on function-calls and text messages.  They typically have a smaller screen, no QWERTY keyboard, and are smaller than today’s smartphones but with different sizes and styles available. 

There’s the Nokia 3310 based on their classic, the Light Phone II, the Nokia 8110 or Banana Phone, and Mudita Pure-all designed with simplicity, phone calls, and basic texting in mind.  There are even those that function only as an emergency alert.  Minimalist mobile phones will help you minimize your screen time while still keeping you connected as needed.

A woman texting - Minimalist Phone - Gone Minimal
A woman texting

How to Make a Phone Minimalist

Yes-any “smart” or advanced technology phone can be made into a minimalist phone, all it takes is a few easy steps.  From phone setup to the phone case, let’s take a look at how to make a phone minimalist.

Minimalist Phone Setup

For a minimalist phone setup, start with deleting the unnecessary and unused apps.  There may be some that can’t be deleted-but you can disable and minimize these to get them off the visible screen.  Keep the apps you use on a daily or regular basis, and organize them in a way that makes sense to you or works with your daily flow.

Choose wallpaper that is simple, beautiful, and natural.

A minimalist phone is based on minimal aesthetics, or even without the unnecessary details as seen in Steve Jobs and his home, as well as his company and products according to author Olga Mironova. Then minimize apps into folders to declutter the screen. 

Turn off all of the annoying notifications.  Edit the color scheme to your favorite color(s) or to darker, more soothing colors; then turn down the brightness or use dark mode.  All of these steps will declutter your phone, lessen the distractions, and decrease the stress on your eyesight!

A simplistic phone - Minimalist Phone - Gone Minimal
A simplistic phone

Minimalist Phone Wallpaper

Now let’s look at your lock screen and home screens.  Sure pictures of loved ones and fun activities bring back great memories, but they’re active and colorful, not necessarily relaxing and soothing.  Choose wallpaper that is simple, beautiful, and natural.  Perhaps the night sky or a colorful sunset.  Minimalist phone wallpaper is non-distracting and invokes feelings of serenity and peace.  Your wallpaper should make you take a deep breath, relax, and think happy thoughts.

Minimalist Phone Case

The purpose of a minimalist phone case is to protect the phone from damage and feel comfortable in your hand, not to be flashy or fancy.  Use a phone case that is flexible and smooth, sits comfortably between your fingers as you hold it, and doesn’t collect dirt or pet hair.  You don’t need a brightly colored, bejeweled, fuzzy, or cutesy phone case to garner attention or distract others.  It’s much less distracting and more comfortable to carry a phone with a functional phone case than a sparkly one.

 Minimalist Phone Anime Wallpaper

For a simple yet intriguing look, consider minimalist phone anime wallpaper.  These feature some simple yet colorful backgrounds, contrasting colors, and an anime character in a thoughtful pose or peaceful stance. 

There are natural backgrounds with the colors of the sunset, night sky, and even nighttime as well as black with only the moon showing the anime character’s silhouette.  Choose your favorite anime’s character or even a beautifully illustrated tree in front of the setting sun-they’re beautifully done and thoughtful.

This helpful video explains simple tips and ideas to help you learn how to use your phone less and use it more productively.

Related Insights

What do you call a cell phone that’s not a smart phone?

A cell phone that’s not a smart phone is called a feature phone, a simple phone, and even a dumb phone.  It’s basically how we started out with cellular technology-phones that made phone calls and nothing else.

How do I make my phone minimalist?

There are a few ways to make your phone minimalist.  One method is to buy a simple or feature phone-one that only offers basic texting (no QWERTY keyboards) and phone call capabilities.  Another way is to take your smart phone and delete all of the unnecessary apps, keeping only the ones you actually need.

Is there a phone without social media?

Just about every phone starts out with social media apps already added straight out of the factory these days, but there are a few exceptions.  Can you have a phone without social media?  Yep-just edit the home screen and delete.

Phone Applications That Real People Think They Can Do Without Their Phone

I asked friends and family to list three things they do on their phones that can be done without a phone. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll, and the percentages of their responses.

Phone ApplicationTimes Selected
Shopping lists3%
Read newspapers/headlines7%
Weather forecast13%
Phone applications that real people think they can do without their phones

Other Resources:

Mobile phones can keep us connected to those we work with as well as those we love, but today’s smartphones and constant connectedness can actually disconnect us from real life.  Minimalist phones can help us spend less time on our phones and more time with those we care about.  When we make the choice to take steps and edit our phones using the minimalist philosophy, we’re not just prioritizing the apps we use-we’re prioritizing the things that really matter.

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